Thanksgiving in Turkey: Introduction

  1. Introduction
  2. The New Star Alliance Lounge at LAX
  3. Turkish Airlines Business Class, LAX-IST on TK10
  4. Doubletree by Hilton Istanbul – Old Town
  5. Some of My Activities in Istanbul
  6. The Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge in Istanbul

 

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about while blogging, it’s that it takes a long time for me to write trip reports. This one will probably come slowly over the next several weeks!

It was hard going back to work after my trip to Tokyo, so I really wanted to go somewhere again as soon as possible. The most logical time for me to go somewhere was Thanksgiving week since it’s easy for me to get time off from work and stack vacation days with the holiday. I was on the lookout for flights to Europe since I’d done Asia a lot recently, and specifically I was looking at Italy, Greece, and Turkey.

About a month before Thanksgiving,  I noticed that two Business Class seats became available on the non-stop LAX-IST route the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It’s rare that a seat on this flight becomes available that far in advance, so I booked the one way ticket right away. I knew there would be plenty of availability on the way back, so I wasn’t worried at all. A friend that came with me waited a couple of days to book, but the seats were gone and he had to take a different route. Don’t hesitate!

The morning after I booked the first leg, I noticed that on Thanksgiving Day there was a return leg on the reverse route, which was perfect since I wanted to really minimize the travel time to make it home for Thanksgiving dinner with the family. I wanted to make sure I took advantage of the “free” one-way that I was entitled to in using United Airlines miles, but I’d already booked the one way ticket to Istanbul…so what to do? Thankfully you’re allowed to make free changes within 24 hours on all award booked with United. I simply called up United, told them that I’d like to change my award to keep the first segment the same, then add on the return to LAX. I wanted to maximize my extra domestic leg, so my final segment was LAX-JFK a whole 6 months later on one of United’s Premier Service planes with a flat-bed.

My route was LAX-IST-LAX-JFK, where Istanbul is my destination and the second LAX is a stopover. This is really a wonderful trick because it saves me a ton of miles, gets me a free flat-bed seat across the country, and it was booked way down the road. Make sure you take advantage of this trick for all round-trip tickets you book!

I left from LAX, and that meant I got to see the newly opened Star Alliance Lounge at LAX’s newly renovated Tom Bradley International Terminal.

A small portion of the new Star Alliance Lounge at LAX.

A small portion of the new Star Alliance Lounge at LAX.

I then boarded TK10 from LAX-IST, which was my first time in Turkish Airlines’ Business Class. I was excited to try it for the food more than anything since they get their food from DO&CO, which generally provides some of the best food in the sky.

Turkish Airlines Business Class

Turkish Airlines Business Class

 

I then spent 4 nights at the Doubletree Istanbul – Old Town, which was hit and miss at the same time.

Doubletree Istanbul - Old Town

Doubletree Istanbul – Old Town

I was able to check out the famed Turkish Airlines Business Class Lounge in the Istanbul airport on my way back. It was amazing but crowded.

Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul

Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul

Then I finally hopped on the flight from IST-LAX on TK9. While reviewing the same product a second time in a row isn’t ideal from a blogging perspective, it made sense for my schedule and I noticed several differences that I’ll point out in the reports that I think will be very important for anyone interested in flying the airline.

Appetizers on TK9.

Appetizers on TK9.

As I did with my Tokyo Trip Report, I’ll also include a post on some of my activities in the short time I was in Istanbul. If you have any questions on how to book these trips, please feel free to ask!

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